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Feb 18, 2002

Prisoners to get drug rehab programme

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For many of us, it would be easy to throw away the key after we’ve locked the bad guys behind bars. But rehabilitation is part of the solution, and for the next two weeks officials from the Police Department, the prison and the judiciary, will be meeting to discuss ways of helping drug addicts become constructive citizens. Ann-Marie Williams reports.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

Some twenty-five individuals representing the judiciary, NDACC, prisons and the churches came together this morning to develop a systematic approach to dealing with offenders in the criminal justice system with a substance abuse problem.

The aim is to evaluate the man or woman at the time of arrest, in the prison and to aid in reintegration into the community. Suzette Brann is one of the facilitators at the workshop.

Suzette Brann, Facilitator

“Over about two weeks time, what we will be doing is meeting with various sectors of the community, starting with the police officers, law enforcement, who arrest the person. And in each sector, we will be developing a system that is linked to the next sector, as the prisoners pass from one system to the other… Developing the forms, documentation, the processes, the way you talk to people and deal with the criminals that come into our systems and how we will treat them, and then plan for their reintegration into the community.”

This morning’s session was designed for the law enforcement personnel. Brann says the wheel need not be re-invented, as services are already in place.

Suzette Brann

“We already have police officers that arrest these people in to community. We already have the Magistrate that try these people in the court. We already have the service providers that do services. What we’re trying to do is to help each one of those segments link together. So we’re not asking for a whole bunch of money to start something new, we’re trying to figure out how we use existing resources to link them properly into a cohesive whole that services and wraps around the offender and gives them the services that they need.”

And what is needed might be easier said than done, especially as it relates to an offender’s re-entry into the community. Ornel Brooks is the Executive Director of NDACC, an organisation which will be responsible for the aftercare.

Ornel Brooks, Executive Dir., NDACC

“At present, there isn’t any reintegration that goes on. And this is sad, because two things occur; one is that the inmate on being release comes back to the same environment and that’s not by choice. Also, the larger society is somewhat guilty in this particular area because it is the tendency of all of us to ostracise these people and treat them as though they should not be forgiven, that these people maybe are only taking lip service about being rehabilitated. So what we want to see, is that at the conclusion of this seminar, I will make representation to government to put in place the type of mechanisms that are required for proper reintegration. And of course, the broader society will have to play its role.”

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

The workshop, which runs for two weeks at the Radisson, will be conducted in three phases. Phase one deals with arrest and trial, phase two: incarceration and phase three involves the re-integration of the recovering addict into society.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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